The Beef Carcase Classification scheme: inspections

Information for abattoirs on what to expect when an inspector visits to check you're complying with the beef carcase classification rules.

Livestock and meat inspectors from the Rural Payments Agency make unannounced checks of licensed bovine abattoirs.

Abattoirs slaughtering more than 150 bovines per week aged 8 months or over - the threshold for compulsory membership of the Beef Carcase Classification (BCC) scheme - are inspected at least twice every 3 months.

Abattoirs slaughtering fewer than 150 animals a week but have chosen to join the BCC scheme voluntarily will be inspected at least once every 3 months.

Abattoirs that are not in the BCC scheme may be visited from time to time.

What the inspector will do

The inspector will:

  • re-weigh carcases
  • check that the carcases are dressed in line with a recognised specification (and that this specification is declared on the required documentation)
  • check carcases are correctly classified and recorded
  • make sure the marks and labels are accurate
  • make sure all records are accurate and are kept for the specified time
  • make sure you are notifying carcase suppliers correctly
  • check the classifiers’ licences, and your licence for automated grading if applicable.

If the inspector finds any problems, they may make follow-up visits and RPA may take enforcement action against you for not complying (meeting) with the beef carcase grading regulations.

What you must do

As an abattoir operator you must give inspecting officers all reasonable assistance and information they need to carry out the inspection.

You must make sure records are kept for 12 months from the year they relate to and made available for inspection.

You must not deny entry to your premises for an inspection or obstruct an inspector (including by giving false information). If you do, you are committing an offence under Part 5 of The Carcase Classification and Price Reporting (England) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/1164) or The Carcase Classification and Price Reporting (Wales) Regulations 2018 (S.I. 2018 No. 1215(W0248) which could lead directly to prosecution, and a possible fine or imprisonment.

Published 31 March 2014
Last updated 29 November 2018 + show all updates
  1. Text reviewed and updated
  2. First published.